I want to wake each day with a grateful heart. I imagine you do, too. We want to fight our tendency toward thank-less-ness. But do you find, like I do, that you grumble (in your heart, if not out loud) when people or circumstances get in the way of your perfect plans? Do you tend toward self-absorption and forget simple thank yous? Or even worse: Do you ever intentionally withhold thanks?
Ingratitude comes easily. But God tells us ingratitude is evil:
“…people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous…” (2 Tim. 3:2-3)
I want to stop and be still before those words, convicted and serious. I want to ask the Holy Spirit to change me, to slay my ungrateful spirit. For ingratitude must be killed, not coddled or allowed. Jesus never said the way of the cross would be easy — He did say, though, that His way, contrary to the self-consumed way of our original nature, is right and true.
His way, the way of gratefulness and amazement at God’s merciful love toward us, slays our self-worship and gives us humble happiness before the Lord. And because we’re humbly happy, knowing the love of Jesus for us, we want to glorify His name. We want to live out a thank you for all He brings into our lives. We want to kill any self-consumed, I deserve better ingratitude.
Not poisoning those around us
Not only, though, for the purpose of humble gratitude before the sovereign Lord of the universe, but also so that those around us aren’t crushed, we must practice gratitude. We must say it. Be it. Even if it’s not how we’ve lived in the past.
A friend shared with me a convicting quote she heard in church. When we choose ingratitude, we not only choose to do what God calls evil, but we often poison our relationships, and crush the spirit of those God puts in our path:
“Ingratitude is toxic. It poisons the atmosphere in our homes and workplaces. It contaminates hearts and relationships. Moms and dads can break the spirits of their children with it, and husbands and wives can deaden every sensitive emotion in the mate they once swore at a church altar to love and to cherish from that day forward. We can be obsessive about spritzing away the disease-carrying, odor-causing bacteria from our tables and counter-tops, but nothing is more contagious in our homes than an ungrateful spirit.” (Nancy DeMoss)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
O Father, help us. Change us! We want to fill our homes with the opposite of toxic ingratitude. We want to be humbly grateful. We really do.